The Ohio Republican Party’s leaders both censured and called on Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) to resign on Friday for his impeachment vote against former President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol earlier this year.
The vote is the latest development in an effort to punish GOP lawmakers who have critiqued the former president’s efforts to spread falsehoods in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Those lies culminated in a violent breach of the Capitol complex perpetrated by a mob of his supporters.
The resolution censures Gonzalez and nine of his GOP colleagues for their impeachment votes which it said supported “the unconstitutional, politically motivated impeachment proceeding against President Donald J. Trump.”
“Gonzalez resorted to emotional conclusions that misplaced blame on President Trump, the President of Law and Order and America First,” a copy of the resolution reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer read. “We believe that Congressman Gonzalez knowingly and willfully violated his oath of office.”
Earlier this week, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) — who was also censured in her own state for her impeachment vote — wrote an op-ed challenging her Republican colleagues to choose truth and reject “Trump’s crusade to delegitimize and undo the legal outcome of the 2020 election.”
In February, Cheney had easily prevailed in the face of a vote to remove her as conference chair in following her impeachment vote, but with support from House GOP leadership that has all but dried up in recent weeks, it seems far more likely that her days as conference chair could quickly come to a close if a vote for her removal is called when the GOP conference meets next week.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who also once backed Cheney as a strong and reliable voice in the party, suggested she was out of touch with the “Trump Republican Party.”
Friday’s vote is also a testament to the dramatic transformation of the Ohio GOP — which the Enquirer points out had as recently as 2015 backed former Gov. John Kasich’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination over Trump’s.
Now, just a few years later, candidates in the Ohio Senate race are competing to pledge their allegiance to the former president — and have used bashing Gonzalez as a way to display their loyalty.
“From day one, I have strongly supported efforts to censure and expel traitor Congressmen like Anthony Gonzalez who voted to impeach President Trump,” one candidate, Josh Mandel, said in a statement.
He took the comments a step further when he later suggested that Gonzalez — who faces a Trump-backed primary challenger in former White House aide Max Miller — should be “eradicated” from the party altogether.
I agree Shannon! Anthony Gonzalez should be eradicated from the Republican Party. https://t.co/GXqI44Xn4n
— Josh Mandel (@JoshMandelOhio) May 7, 2021